Pandemic pondering and wandering
It has been about two and half month since the WHO declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic. It has been 2.5 months of being at home with three kids. I am exhausted, but also realize that I have Pandemic Privilege. We have lost little income, we live in a house with a garden, we have access to technology, I do not need to work while trying to look after my kids, and one of our childcare providers are also our housemate. Yet I have still been grieving our loses. In March I felt like I had settled into a good routine with a new baby, a toddler and a 1st grader. I grief the loss of my leave time, that special time to get to know and bond with the new baby. I grief the missed weekend camping trips and our two month travel plans at the end of this leave. I grief the missed visits from my parents living overseas - will they get to meet their granddaughter before she is a toddler?
I also feel tired into my bones, anxious about the future and overwhelmed by the endlessness of it all. The laundry, the cooking, the conflicts, the cleaning, the everydayness. I miss my friends, I miss going away on the weekends, but most of all I miss going camping with friends. Camping is a break from the everydayness, a chance to leave the chores behind (physically and mentally), a chance to reconnect without interruptions, a chance to let go of worries and anxieties.
I try to let go of my expectations. It is okay that I have not managed to start our garden (luckily our housemate has started up a great garden), that school work rarely gets completed, that some days we just eat risengrød for dinner, that the house is covered in knee deep art projects. I have however held onto one goal - get outside everyday. Getting outside away from the house helps create little escape pocket, where it is easier to just be without much worry. I really like planning trips, I enjoy coming up with trip ideas that fit our current family dynamic and still challenge us - I like the anticipation of new adventure. Thinking about new places to explore or bike to around town has helped me hold on to some part of that - small, short-term sources of happy anticipation - microdosing it.
Christian still goes in to work most days, so I am alone with our three girls about 40 hours a week. And since most parking lots around town are closed off we have been happily exploring Vancouver by bike. F is very capable on her bike and in traffic. She is capable of reaching most of the weekday locations from our home in Oakridge on her own bike, but she is also a bit of a wild card, so I am grateful for our used Madsen bike with a small motor. I can transport all three girls (our 6 month old in the Chariot), a balance bike, a 20' bike and all the stuff we need for a day trip up to 30 km, which gets me basically anywhere within Vancouver.
We have settled into a weekend rhythm by now. Saturday we attempt to sleep in despite having three young kids. We get our chores done or work on projects, and in the evenings we go camping in the yard. If the weather is good we start out with a BBQ, which always ends with snobrød and marshmallows. The kids pack their things for the night. F always insist that we carry all the things around the neighbourhood, before we come back to set up camp in the garden - like a 'real trip'. Luckily it will just be another week before the parks starts to open up for camping here. We are very excited. On Sundays we usually go on a trip somewhere. We have mostly been out on our bikes, but has also taken out the canoe on a few occasions.
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